House Dems: Gun violence costs $200B annually

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With pleas centered on the loss of life from gun violence going nowhere, House Democrats are trying another tack: the monetary cost.

A report revealed Wednesday calculates the cost of gun violence nationwide at more than $200 billion annually.

Lori Haas’ daughter was shot and wounded when a gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech in 2007. When it was over, 33 other people, including the shooter, were dead.

“Only seven students in her classroom made it out alive,” Haas said. “I can’t describe it. It’s indescribable.”

More than a decade later, she said, nothing has changed.

“You have the solutions at hand and our elected officials are not acting,” Haas said. “We are failing our children. We are failing too many communities who suffer gun violence.”

“It’s the daily gun violence that doesn’t make the news that claims nearly 100 lives” each day, added Adam Skaggs of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

At a Wednesday press conference in Washington, he and Haas were among those calling on Congress to fund gun research and pass gun control reforms.

Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee unveiled a report on the financial cost of gun violence to try to pressure Republicans to take action on stalled legislation. The report says Americans could save on medical expenses, law enforcement and locking up gun offenders of Congress were to pass the proposed reforms.

“The costs of American gun violence are extraordinary,” Skaggs said.

Calling gun violence a “public health problem,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said there are already common sense solutions on the table, including a bill that would require universal background checks that passed the Democrat-led House but haven’t been taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate.

“We just have to keep up that really intense pressure on the Senate to pass things,” she said.

Republicans in the Senate have said they’ll only take up measures that President Donald Trump signals he will sign.

“If the president’s going to veto something, we’re not going to take it up on the Senate floor,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio said.

So far, the president has not been clear about what he will back.

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